By Darryl Alder
Oct 15, 2017

Wind, Fire and God

Friday night our campout was more than chilly; it was downright cold, but I didn’t say much as we had two new Scouts with us and the campfire was warm. 

Our Scoutmaster, Matt Johnson, had asked for help during the week with two-deep leadership. I was more than happy to go camping, but the weather man predicted snow. Still it was a clear night and we were filled with toasted cheese and bacon sandwiches as the fire burned low. 

One of the Scouts asked to put on more wood, but we suggested he use a stick to push them together. Immediately the fire brightened and we began making CBS (campfire banana smores), 

The fire burned lower as we ate dessert. Then Matt asked the Scouts to liken our fire to our quorum and troop. One Scout said the coals were warming like the gospel, but the one who had pushed the separate coals into a pile said, when we get all together, we burn brighter. Then Matt asked about the other five Scouts who were not with us at camp that evening.

During the night the weather changed and at 3 am wind blew the three Scouts’ tent upside down; it has just started to snow. Their cries for help got us up. I really admired Matt as he helped stake the tent down firmly. 

In the morning we woke to some snow, but the Scouts were warm and dry. In fact they asked to go fishing first thing. 

While they were gone Matt and I had pancakes, bacon and eggs. Plenty was waiting for them when they got back. 

About 11 the Scouts decided to head home; the fishing wasn’t good and they didn’t want to kayak in the wind on Jordanelle. So we packed up and cleaned up, taking the Scoutmaster’s challenge to leave no trace (and the wind had made that pretty hard, scattering our stuff about).

When we were ready the Senior Patrol Leader called for prayer, but Matt asked if he could lead another reflection. He said that he had made a mistake when the Scouts set up their tent the night before, but saying it didn’t need to be staked down. He asked us to like that to the Gospel. One Scout side stakes anchor a tent like our testimony anchors us. As we talked more we noted the tent had 8 stakes just like our quorum and that missing some of those stakes would let the tent blow over. We concluded we needed everyone in our quorum to keep it strong and talked about how to get everyone with us next troop meeting. 

Wow, what can I say: one campout, two reflections!

Author: Darryl Alder | Retired career Scouter with more than 30 years of service. servers as troo 562 Committee Chair. His pride in Scouting is his 59 years of volunteer service with BSA

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4 thoughts on “Wind, Fire and God

  1. Matthew Johnson

    Using the EDGE Method Helps Us Leave Things Better Than We Find Them

    Last week’s camp out was nearly cancelled. Parents and leaders were unable to attend to provide two-deep leadership. Darryl Alder heard the news and volunteered to attend, despite the cold forecast. I was a bit surprised, knowing how the cold effects Darryl’s arthritis. Nevertheless, I was grateful for his willingness to spend time with the Scouts in Troop 592 from the LDS Provo Parkway 2nd Ward.

    Friday morning I was notified that Darryl’s brother-in-law had passed away. I excused him from the camp out knowing that these are times when family members gather to strengthen each other. I had composed an email explaining the situation to our Troop members and was ready to hit “send” when I received a text. Darryl was telling me that he would still be camping with us. I questioned his rational. His wife, Sue, is a wonderful woman, and I felt he should be home comforting her. I was told they both felt he should attend the camp out.

    We met at the appointed hour, packed a few things in the trailer, and were off. We arrived at Jordanelle State Park an hour later. The sun had set. Darryl offered his headlights to allow easy camp set up. Our Senior Patrol Leader dispatched the boys in their duties. A fire was made and tents were pitched.

    Darryl’s proficiency of the EDGE method was evident as he helped a new troop member cook the frozen bacon. The Scout was trying to pull the slices apart. Darryl showed him how heating the meat allowed it to be separated easily. Soon our melted cheese and bacon sandwiches were ready to consume.

    For dessert we had Campfire Banana Splits, or CBS. Darryl showed the boys how to gently peel and scoop out one section of the banana, add marshmallow and chocolate. Care was taken to demonstrate how to wrap the fruit in aluminium foil. He was instructing the boys every step of the way. I watched and followed the instructions to enjoy the same delicious dessert as the Scouts.

    Reinforcing the Scout Law, Darryl would say, “A Scout is Clean.” We need to clean the dishes and our camp so we don’t invite animals. I was surprised at how often he would bring the Scout Law to life during our camp out. It made me want to copy his approach. It was easy for the Scouts to follow Darryl because he didn’t lecture the boys. He mentioned the attribute of Scouting that he wanted the boys to be. We had no murmuring or complaining because of his approach to camp chores.

    As an LDS-sponsored Troop, we promote and help prepare our youth for missionary service. To help do this, we have firesides on each camp out. During our fireside, Darryl bore his testimony of Jesus Christ, by sharing experiences from his LDS mission to Germany. Again, without lecturing, he showed the boys his expectation for them! Again, I was amazed at how gracefully he wove Scouting and priesthood duties into a fun and spiritual moment.

    About 3:00 AM the Scouts woke us up. The wind had flipped their dome tent over and they were getting it re-situated. I asked if they wanted help; they did. I put on my shoes and coat and went out. Light snow was falling. Before I finished staking down the tent, Darryl was beside the boys. I knew it wasn’t easy for him to get up off the floor of our tent, and get ready to face the elements, but he did, joking with the boys all along.

    Darryl was up early Saturday morning. He took a few pictures of the newly fallen snow blanketing our camp. Then he texted parents and leaders of our evenings escapades.

    Soon afterwards the Scouts were up. They said they wanted to go fishing. With only three Scouts, Darryl reminded them that the buddy system would include all of the boys. Then they were off.

    We built a fire and started breakfast. Darryl’s years of Scouting had given him ample practice making pancakes on a gas griddle. He quickly found the perfect temperature on the stove. The boys returned and, like the night before, were taught how to cook pancakes with the EDGE method. Again, I was amazed at how much I still needed to implement in our Troop. I’ve been a Scout leader for 10 years, but haven’t internalized many of the concepts I try to teach each week.

    Before leaving our campsite, Darryl said, “A Scout is Clean.” . We followed Leave No Trace principles, gathering trash from where the wind had blown it in our area. Just as our Scouts left our campsite better than we found it, Darryl left each one of us better than he found us.

  2. Kevin Hunt (the Scout Blogger)Kevin Hunt (the Scout Blogger)

    Excellent article … or articles – or both of them (including the reply from SM Johnson). Thanks to great men like Darryl and Matthew who dedicate so much of their everything to create growing experiences for young men. Truly great examples of how we should each serve – as we see the vision with the “end result” in focus. Thanks to you and to all leaders who so serve. Kevin Hunt

  3. Maloree Anderson

    It’s funny how an article about just one night could have such an impactful message. Darryl’s article and the comment really shows how a simple overnighter could effect the youth AND leaders in a deep spiritual and Scouting way. I knew Darryl was an amazing Scouter but this really opened my eyes and heart even more. Thank you for this! I wonder what I can do to instill the Scout Oath and Law into my own everyday life.


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